Inspiring students: Cristo Rey Jesuit High School views Pope Francis’ address to Congress

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WEST MILWAUKEE -- Pope Francis' historic address to Congress on Thursday, September 24th prompted viewing parties across the country and here in Milwaukee. For students at one local high school, this was a teaching moment -- but their connection to the pontiff is more than spiritual.

Cristo Rey Jesuit High School

Cristo Rey Jesuit High School

All eyes were on Pope Francis at Cristo Rey Jesuit High School  on Thursday morning.

"They are going to remember where they were when this was happening," said Andrew Stith, Cristo Rey 's president.

Most of the 140 students share two things in common with the pontiff: Their faith, as Pope Francis is the first Jesuit pope, and also their culture.

"My grandpa was the one who first immigrated here in the 1950s. He went back and forth between Mexico and the United States, and it was hard," said Nayeli Villegas, Cristo Rey freshman said.

Pope speaks to Congress

Pope speaks to Congress

As Pope Francis spoke on the refugee crisis and immigration, students admired his courage. And the words, they say, they'll never forget.

"The golden rule. Don't do stuff to people that you don't want them to do to you," said Adrian Mora, Cristo Rey freshman said.

Students might have felt connected to the pope on a personal level, but on the academic level, some of the things he brought up are going to be talked about in the classroom.

Cristo Rey Jesuit High School

Cristo Rey Jesuit High School

"We'll talk about immigration laws. We'll talk about just wages, fair labor situations. We'll talk about the environment," said Father Bill Johnson.

Cristo Rey follows a rigorous curriculum. The school just opened this school year. Educators hope the pontiff's speech will inspire students to find strength in adversity.

"They can be a person of faith and they can help our country be prosperous in the future," said Stith.

Cristo Rey only serves students with limited financial means.